Thursday, January 12, 2017

Are QR Codes Over?

No.  Never really got started.  Small businesses need to incorporate this tech and leverage it for our own purposes. Another example of eMarketers trying to justify their worth by charging too much to do too much. QR codes are simply speed dial, making it easy to connect a smart phone to a URL, which ends up being an ad for the product or service in question.  The real benefit is anyone making contact is also offering up info as to the time and place and maybe more of the scan-event itself, great marketing info.  It can offer product assurance, anti-"piracy"benefit, obviating the need for trademark.   Also, it is generally open-sourced technology, another example of someone succeeding by NOT availing of hegemon-sponsored monopoly.  QR codes are free.  You can generate your own online.

 There is this:
HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich illustrates that dichotomy when she compares the results of a consumer survey versus those of a marketer survey. In those surveys, 97 percent of consumers reported they didn’t know what a QR code was; however, 65 percent of marketers said QR codes are effective. Are we to believe that marketers continue to invest in QR code technology when only 3 percent of all consumers even use it?
If those numbers are true, it is not about the 65% of marketers, it is about which 3% of 100 who use QR codes. Whatever the limits, the numbers can provide valuable info, much bang for the buck. Next, here is Xerox, noting how to do it right, B2C.
Bar Keeper’s Friend: The QR Code, glued right to the top of the can to cover the pour holes, led to multiple short, mobile-optimized videos showing uses for the product and comparing it to competitors’ products in the same category. The videos were not expensive or high production, just a woman cleaning things in a studio. Not only did they show the product’s performance against its competitors, but they also showed other uses for the product that I might not have thought of.  I have all those problems in my house, so clearly, I need to buy another can — or three.
Next, this round-up...
When we look at the compiled data over time, there are some clear trends that we see:
  • Adoption has been hovering around 30% of cellphone users.
  • Marketers indicate that their use of QR Codes is — not on the decline as so many people would have you believe — but on the rise.
  • While more men are still scanning than women, it’s much a more balanced environment than it has been in the past. The percentages are now much closer to 50/50.
  • The demographic of the typical QR Code scanner is getting older. The majority of scanners are now 35+ years old (as opposed to 18-34 years old, as it has been in the past).
  • Scanning continues to dominate in retailing, where people are scanning for product information and discounts.
  • Growth in mobile payments via QR Codes is significant and rising.
Next... contrary opinion...
The big question we should all be asking is, why hasn’t something as promising as the QR code gained more traction in the 10 years of its existence? Below are five reasons I see that prevented this fairly simple technology from living up to its promise...
5. Even when a QR code is done right (link to mobile-optimized site, available connectivity, clear call-to-action), it’s hard to convince oneself that the minute it takes to pull out your phone, open up a scan-friendly app (assuming one had been downloaded), scan the QR code and then wait for the experience to load, is worth it. 
OK, cited are examples of poor execution, not a summary of the use of the technology.  Good things to keep in mind when deploying the tech yourself.  Xerox flogs QR codes, and here is their list of do's and don'ts.  Here is a critic a few years back who seems to offer an internal contradiction argument, and offers alternative tech that seems too complicated and expensive.

QR codes are no cost, serve a limited but powerful purpose, and ought to integrated into packaging especially when exporting.  It reaches a demographic you want to reach, you want to track.

Can they be hacked?  Yes!  People can either fake a product and put your QR code on it or slap a fake QR code label over yours on a package of the real thing, and either way attempt to hijack your info flow.  Random serial numbers on your product can help thwart this as users can verify whether a give package is from your list of serial numbers on your website.  This slight inconvenience to hackers suggests they pick on easier prey.

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